Ryan Briscoe has the potential to do something that only racing legend A.J. Foyt has accomplished.
Foyt is the only driver to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1967), the Rolex 24 at Daytona (1983, 85), the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring (1985) and the Indianapolis 500 (1961, 1964, 1967 and 1977).
This year, Briscoe has won the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring and was set to only compete in the crown jewel of sportscar racing – the 24 Hours of Le Mans next month. That would be history alone, but a near tragic accident to James Hinchcliffe has put Briscoe in a most interesting position, a seat in the Indianapolis 500.
Hinchcliffe was severely injured in an accident while practicing for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on Monday and was sidelined for the race. Briscoe, who is currently does not have a full time ride in IndyCar, became the most logical choice for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports to pitch hit for Hinchcliffe.
Now behind the wheel of the #5 Arrow Electronics Honda for the 500, Briscoe could join A.J. Foyt as a winner of Daytona, Sebring, the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. If that isn’t enough, he can do something that even “Super-Tex” couldn’t do – win all four races in the same season.
“Any one of those is special and to have Daytona and Sebring is great in one year,” said Briscoe. “Any of these alone, not even in the same year is a great thing.”
The 2012 Indy 500 polesitter has the potential to win on Sunday, but has some record-breaking obstacles ahead of him to accomplish that feat. Briscoe is starting in 32nd due to the driver change. The furthest back a winning driver has ever started was Fred Frame in 1932, where he started in 28th place.
“Honestly, there cars from top to bottom are equally prepared these days and a lot is going to happen over 500 miles and I truly believe we’re going to be one of the guys you’ll be racing for a shot at the win here on Sunday.”
Getting this seat at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports had an obstacle of its own. Briscoe is a Chevrolet factory driver in sportscars and needed to be given permission to compete for the Honda powered Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
When asked if he was surprised that Chevrolet granted permission for him to race for a Honda outfit, Briscoe simply said, “Yeah I am.”
“I am thankful to everyone at Chevrolet for giving me permission. It’s not an easy decision for them, for sure, and I respect that. I hope it doesn’t come across as any lack of respect or loyalty towards them, you know, this is the Indy 500 and it’s unique circumstances.”
For Briscoe, the difficulty to achieve the feat is immense, but the Australian is already halfway through completing one of the most historic runs in motorsports history.
“It’s seems like sometimes this track chooses its winner and you never know who it’s going to be until the flag flies so we’ll see what happens.”